WAT RACHA PRADITSATHAN (วัดราชประดิษฐาน)
This active temple is located on the city island on the corner of Chikun Road and U-
Thong Road. It can be easily found near the bridge leading over
Khlong Mueang to Wat
Wong Khong.

Wat Racha Praditsathan was located next to
Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak, which once
separated it from
Wat Tha Sai (on the opposite side of the canal). This canal has been
filled in for the most part, leaving a small pond on the premises. Traces of a fortress
(
Pom Khao Pluak) and a water gate (Pratu Khao Pluak) can still be seen in situ. Wat
Tha Sai has since been annexed by Wat Racha Praditsathan and is now considered a
single temple. However, this report distinguishes the two temples as having their own
unique histories, so readers should also visit the link for
Wat Tha Sai to get a full picture
of the architectural structures on site.

As a fully functioning temple, Wat Racha Praditsathan has been given a modern
ordination hall in the Rattanakosin style. This monastery is decorated with mirrored-tiles
that have some elaborate decorations. The gable of the sermon hall dramatically portrays
a Garuda carrying a four-armed figure while clutching two Naga in its talons. There is
also a small Buddha footprint and a
Luk Nimit ball, which enable visitors to make
donations. The ordination hall is graced by double sema stones, which are perched on
white pedestals with pink lotus flowers. Several gold-painted Buddha images sit on the
altar inside.  There are two old chedi on the northern side of the sermon hall. One has
multiple layers with a bell-shaped crown. The second chedi is constructed in the “mango
seed” style, which is the only one of its kind in the city.

Wat Racha Praditsathan is closely associated with King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569),
who served as a monk at this temple prior to accepting the throne. This story dates back
to when Queen Regent Si Sudachan and Khun Worawongsa usurped the throne in
1548. Si Sudachan was a concubine of King Chairacha that became Queen Regent after
his death. Her 11-year-old son,
Yot Fa, was made King, but his reign was short lived.
The Queen Regent had her own child executed at
Wat Khok Phraya and appointed her
lover, Khun Worawongsa as the new monarch. Meanwhile Prince Yot Fa’s uncle,
Prince Thianracha (the future King Chakkraphat) sought political refuge by being
ordained a monk at Wat Racha Praditsathan.

Khun Worawongsa’s ill-fated reign would last only six weeks. A group of assassins
ambushed him and Queen Regent Si Sudachan while the couple was having a
recreational outing on Khlong Pla Mo. The two usurpers and their baby daughter were
taken away to be executed and their corpses publicly displayed at
Wat Raeng. The
group of assassins then persuaded Prince Thianracha to leave the monk hood at Wat
Racha Praditsathan in order to become King (Cushman 23-25).

After accepting the throne, King Chakkraphat sent the younger brother of the 11-year-
old King Yot Fa - Prince Si Sin - to Wat Racha Praditsathan to be raised as a novice
monk (Cushman 41). However, as Prince Si Sin became older, he staged a rebellion in
order to claim the throne for himself. Prince Si Sin and his supporters attacked the Royal
Palace at the Sao Thong Chai gate. This surprise attack forced King Chakkraphat to flee
the palace. Eventually, Prince Si Sin was killed in battle by gunfire. As a warning against
future rebellions, the prince’s colleagues and some of their wives were executed in public
and their bodies impaled and displayed next to the corpse of Prince Si Sin (Cushman 41-
42).  

[
Sidenote: This temple is the site of the second accident experienced by a member
of the Ayutthaya Historical Research. While seeking a photographic opportunity in
front of this monastery, Tricky Vandenberg was struck by a motorcycle, leaving
him with a severely damaged ankle that required hospitalization. As a result, AHR
walking tours were cancelled for nearly three months while recuperating.

The second injury of an AHR member took place in front of Wat Kuti Sung. While
in the line of duty, Ken May was struck by a speeding motorcycle and left wounded
by the side of the road with severe spinal damage. He was hospitalized for one
month before he could walk again, and was forced to wear a back brace for three
months afterward.
]
Text & photographs by Ken May - August 2009
Addendum

Wat Racha Praditsathan is indicated on a map drafted in the mid-19th century
and on
Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926. The mid-19th century map
denominates the temple as Wat Pra (ประ) and indicates the presence of a chedi.

The "Monastery of the Royal Installation" (1), as Richard Cushman translated the
name of this Siamese temple [1],  is also mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya
during the reign of  King Phumintharacha  (r. 1709-1733).  At the end of his reign,
preparations were made for the royal succession and the mostly - inevitable - fight for the
throne. The old King had one of his sons designated as heir to the throne, without
consent of his younger brother, the deputy king.  

The king ordered some defensive works done inside the capital all along Khlong Pratu
Khao Pluak until Pratu Jin (The Chinese Gate) and one of the defensive stockades was
established on the western bank of Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak in front of Wat Racha
Praditsathan and besides the
Elephant Bridge. This stockade fell under the command of a
certain Khun Si Khong Yot.

The deputy king, living at the
Front Palace, ordered the same defenses set up along the
eastern bank of the canal. The son of the deputy king took the occasion to shoot and kill
Khun Si Khong Yot in his stockade from the window of a house on the edge of the Pratu
Khao Pluak Canal. It was the start of a bloody internal war of succession.

Footnotes:

(1) Racha = royal; Praditsathan = to install.

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 413 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat & Royal Autograph.
Addendum & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - January 2011
(View from the north along U-Thong Rd)
(Quincunx on an 12-redented elevated base)
(View from the south)
(Decorated gable from the ubosot
The God Vishnu on the Garuda)
(Double sema stones indicating
former royal sponsoring)
(Funeral monument in situ)